NY State Liquor Licenses
We advise, prepare and file the following types of NY State Liquor Authority applications for our clients:
“On-Premises” Liquor Licenses are a category of licenses that allow you to serve alcoholic beverages on the actual premise of your business. There are different types of these “on-premises” licenses – some that allow you to serve beer only; some allowing for beer, wine, cider and sake; and some that allow for beer, wine, cider, sake AND full liquor and spirits. Within each type of license, things are defined even further based on the character of your proposed business – bar, restaurant, hotel, nightclub, catering establishment. The process of applying for an on-premise license is tricky and it’s crucially important to make sure that you’re applying for the right license and doing so in the right manner. We strongly suggest that you do not “try this at home!” Give us a call and we will talk you through the process.
“Off-Premises” Liquor Licenses are a category of licenses that allow you to sell alcoholic beverages to patrons for their off-of-the-premises consumption only. There are many different types of these “off-premises” licenses – some allow you to sell wine at retail; some allow you to sell spirits and wine at retail; some allow for beer to be sold at retail; and some allow for the sale of beer and wine products (specifically not wine). Similarly to the description of On-Premises licenses above, picking the appropriate type and class of license that is right for you is tricky and often times quite nuanced. We’re always happy to help and talk you through any scenario, to eventually ensure that you are choosing the correct license type for your business.
Anytime that there is an event held and alcoholic beverages are distributed, whether they are being sold, given away, donated, etc., there will always be a type of license or permit that should be governing that event. The Liquor Authority offers “Special Event” and “Catering Event” permits, which allow individuals or currently-licensed companies to host one-off events for special occasions. These events can take place anywhere. This process is extremely specific and does not allow for much margin of error. We can help to register your events for you and take the guesswork out of it.
Once you are approved for your liquor license, you can take a deep breath, as the hardest part is done. What you can’t do though, is forget that you must begin the process of renewing your liquor license a few months in advance of its expiration date. This renewals process is certainly not rocket science, but it is not straightforward, there are a number of timing issues/deadlines and there is significant opportunity to bungle the whole thing. Doing so would result in you either losing your license entirely, or being “dry” for a period, while things get corrected. Either of these outcomes could be catastrophic for your business. Let us take this off of your plate. We have a team of professionals that do literally hundreds of renewals per year. We have a system, we keep track of the different moving parts and let you get back to running your business.
Many people don’t realize that whenever there is a change made to your physical establishment or to the ownership of it, the Liquor Authority must be informed. If you’re changing the size/shape/location of your bar, there is an application that must be filed with the Liquor Authority. If you’re changing your name/type of cuisine/level of food service, there’s an application for that. If you’re taking on new investors or buying out old ones, there’s an application that must be filed to accomplish that too. More times than not, operators accrue violations for failing to memorialize these changes with the Liquor Authority in the appropriate way. We are equipped to audit your current status with the liquor authority, look at your current/proposed operation and advise as to exactly what needs to be done to ensure that you are completely compliant.
The Liquor Authority understands that there is not a “one-size-fits-all” license, so they’ve developed a number of different classes and categories of licenses. We’ve broadly defined a few of them above. The Liquor Authority also has “Seasonal” and “Special” license applications. These include the types of licenses that you would need for a concession stand only opened in the summer or a snackbar at an ice rink only in the winter. An example of a “Special” license would be the type that allows alcohol service on a vessel that sails around NYC. We’re happy to help match you to the perfect license for your business. Just give us a call.
If you own multiple units and have multiple liquor licenses within New York State, you could be eligible for a “Centralized Bookkeeping” and/or “Centralized Warehousing” allowance. These enable you to do all of your ordering (for all locations) together. And then potentially store all of your inventory (for all locations) together as well. Call us today to see if you qualify.
The Alcoholic Beverage Control Law is fairly old. And although the statute does evolve (somewhat) over time, there are many inventions, scenarios and questions that were never contemplated and are still not accounted for. The mechanism that the SLA employs to deal with this fact, is that they allow for attorneys to request interpretations of the statute within the context of a current set of facts. This is called making a declaratory ruling request. This involves us preparing a proposal of sorts for the SLA, them reviewing it, consulting the statute and SLA’s Counsel, and discussing the item at a public hearing. We attend that hearing, make a presentation and engage in as much back and forth as is necessary. Ultimately, the SLA will issue a ruling based on what is discussed. This ruling or interpretation of the statute will then guide us on a moving-forward basis.